Rafa Nadal Academy player Abedallah Shelbayh received a highly valuable bit of advice from academy founder and 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal himself, who believes Shelbayh has the talent to become a ‘great player.’ The Spanish tennis great urged Shelbayh to make the most of his potential by working hard day in and day out and following players who have set ideal examples for youngsters.
The 19-year-old player from Jordan, who has been with the academy in Mallorca since he was 14, recently created history by becoming the first player ever from his country to win a match on the ATP Challenger Tour at the event in Manama, Bahrain. Later, in the same tournament, he became the first Jordanian to reach a Challenger Tour final.
A rising star of Nadal’s academy, Shelbayh was even featured in a recent Amazon Prime Video documentary about the state-of-the-art academy. In a moment from the same documentary, the Spanish great himself was seen sharing some useful advice with the youngster based on his wide range of experiences over an illustrious career.
You can watch the video of their interaction here:
First and foremost for Shelbayh is to give his hundred percent in training every day, as per the Spanish great. He then pointed out to Shelbayh that many players are unable to fulfill their great potential as they do not practice the correct things, while also urging the teenager to follow ‘positive examples’ of players and stay far away from negative examples.
“Work well everyday. You have the talent to become a great player. If you really want to do it, I don’t have to tell you, you will do it,” Nadal told Shelbayh.
“Take positive examples, not negative examples, because there is both ways. There are professional tennis players that have amazing talent and you see that they are not able to do things the proper way to become a star. It is your decision to choose your way, which kind of players you want to follow,” he added.
“He gave me words of encouragement many times” – Abedallah Shelbayh on Rafael Nadal
Soon after his recent historic performance on the Challenger Tour, Abedallah Shelbayh opened up about having the opportunity to train with Rafael Nadal himself, not just once, but on multiple occasions at the academy. The Jordanian player said that the Spanish legend has already shared a lot of tips and encouraging words with him about what it takes to be successful at the highest level.
“I mean, to be able to practice with him many times and hear many tips from him, as he spent so many years on the tour at the highest level, he gave me words of encouragement many times and a lot of tips on how to improve, what things I needed to do better in order to be able to compete at this level,” Shelbayh said during a press conference at the Qatar Open.
Nadal himself is currently recovering from a hip muscle tear that led to his early loss at the Australian Open. Having already withdrawn from this week’s Dubai Tennis Championships, he is also set to miss the Indian Wells Masters, and is highly doubtful for the Miami Masters soon after.
However, he is expected to be fit in time for the start of the claycourt season.
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